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Vitamin C Explained

Vitamin C Explained

Everyone has heard of Vitamin C, but what you may not know is that there are many different versions available. Not all Vitamin C is created equally and the differences can be synthetic, natural and everything in between.

Quite often I’ll recommend a Vitamin C to a client and they quickly reply ‘oh I have one already’. I guarantee they would be nothing alike, especially if they are an over the counter product that hasn’t been professionally formulated. Different C’s treat different skin conditions; also the formula that the C is in could be totally different to the next. For example the Organic Spa C serum also has Black Kohosh in the formula, which helps to control monthly hormonal acne breakouts.

Breaking It Down

There are dozens of different Vitamin C’s out there. Here are the most commonly used that we stock in the clinic.

AA2G – a very stable version that doesn’t actually turn into Vitamin C until it hits the skin. That means no oxidization in the jar! Which is amazing for lifespan. It’s optimal effectiveness for UV damage repair; protection from pollution and brightening is at 2%. Found in Organic Spa Vitamin C Serum.

Vitamin C Explained

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate – A stable water soluble Vitamin C that brightens skin. Much more stable than just Acorbic Acid. A natural skin saver from UV damage it helps with sun induced premature aging. It’s also  badass natural acne killer, at just 1% concentration (yes, 1%) it has strong antimicrobial effects against acne for 8 hours! This is why it’s found in the Roccoco Clarifying C Serum because it fights acne while fading old acne spots.

Vitamin C Explained

Kakadu Plum – this plant based Vitamin C has gotten a lot of attention lately for it’s potent natural properties. Indigenous to Australia Kakadu Plum contains 50% more Vitamin C naturally than Oranges. Not only does it help repair UV damage and fight acne like other versions it’s also incredibly soothing. Containing gallic acid (a natural anti-inflammatory), this botanical ingredient helps to reduce redness, inflammation and irritation. Used in Divine Woman Gel Serum for deeply hydration that soothes sensitive skin.

Vitamin C Explained

These are just a few examples, as you can see there are many high quality versions of Vitamin C available. In the plant world there are many more fruits that offer natural antioxidant protection. Each contains their own unique antioxidant acids that treat different skin conditions. Next time you’re looking for ‘Vitamin C Serum’ look a bit deeper, ask which version of Vitamin C it contains and their benefits to your skin.

In The Salon

In the salon the best professional Vitamin C treatments we offer are the Eminence Fire and Ice Facial and the Jade Vita Renewal Facial packed full of Matcha!

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Exfoliation – how to do it right

Exfoliation – how to do it right

There are lots of different methods and ideas on how best to do exfoliation in the market. So how do you know which is best for you? It all comes down to skin type and condition, as well as some personal preference.

So what are your options when choosing an exfoliant? First of all knowing your skin type is key; these days most people are pretty savvy and know if you’re oily/acne or dry/sensitive. There are two main methods of exfoliation, manual and chemical. When we say chemical we mean alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or enzymes, which are usually plant based. These chemical exfoliations sit on the skin like a mask and gently dissolve away dead skin cells as opposed to scrubs, which manually buff dead skin away.

Manual Scrubs

Popular ingredients in manual buffers are ground nuts like apricots and other buffers like argan, rice and olive seed. These are often in a cream or gel base, sometimes with clays included to help ‘mop up’ excess oil in the skin. Some manual scrubs can be left on like a mask to let the clay absorb and treat the skin further. Also sometimes manual scrubs have additional alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in them to assist with further cell turnover when left on the skin for an additional few minutes. These two in one manual and chemical exfoliators are great value for money as you are getting a little ‘extra’ treatment of the skin. My favourite are Eminence Strawberry and Rhubarb Dermafoliant and Divine Woman Exfoliating Cream.

Exfoliation – how to do it right
Exfoliation – how to do it right

Chemical Exfoliation

In my professional opinion I feel like these exfoliantors are the best. They are fruit acid based with either the above-mentioned AHAs or enzyme. AHAs break down the glue between your cells and work on the surface of the skin to help lift away old cells that are ready to come away from the skin. You don’t need a high percentage of AHAs to achieve this as they only work on the surface and you shouldn’t be red and irritated. Enzymes work deeper in the skin and they digest dead cells and debris as they work in the skin. Sort of like pac man for your skin. You can get a better result with enzymes when you are very oily and congested as they generally are less irritating on the surface of the skin and clean better. Giving a better result, especially for acne skin. Two very effective chemical exfolaints are the Eminence Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System and Eminence Yam & Pumpkin Enzyme Peel.

Exfoliation – how to do it right
Exfoliation – how to do it right

Leave on Exfoliation

These are relatively new products that are very effective and gaining popularity. They can come in forms of pre-soaked pads, essences, creams and concentrates. The most common ingredients in these products are lactic acid and willowbark (a natural salicylic acid) both are more gentle but effective as a leave on product. Some of our favourites are Roccoco Purifying Essence, Eminence Mangosteen Concentrate and Organic Spa Night Renewal Treatment.

Exfoliation – how to do it right
Exfoliation – how to do it right
Exfoliation – how to do it right

How often should I be performing an exfoliation on my skin?

Generally once, maybe twice a week is enough for most people. But this will vary, if you’re very sensitive and fine skin, use a very gentle chemical exfoliation once every two weeks or so. For more oily and acne skins you can exfoliate around 3 times a week, especially if the skin is going through a purge. The Roccoco Sulfur Mask is an ideal treatment for disrupted skins because it not only contains effective enzymes but also lots of anti-inflammatory ingredients to calm the skin.

Exfoliation – how to do it right

Getting advice from a professional is always going be the quickest way to choosing the right product for your skin, but following this guide gives you a great head start.

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The Power Of Touch

The Power Of Touch

One of the most import things human beings need is touch. Touch is vital to our health and well-being, and even increases our longevity.

Touch achieves three main things for humans. Because physical touch, like a hug, makes us feel good it also inspires trust and positive thinking. These feeling are essential if you are receiving a treatment from a therapist to make you comfortable and enjoy your treatment. Touch reduces anxiety and stress, which is a major factor, in having a beauty treatment. A lot of clients need not just results for their skin but also the ability to relax and switch off. There are not a lot of facial treatments that achieve both well. The long-term benefit of touch is lower blood pressure and even a boost to the immune system. Basically touch equals relaxed, healthy, happy humans.

So how do we achieve all of this in just a one hour treatment? Facials have gone through a phase with shopping mall style in and out clinics popping up everywhere and introducing the express slap on a peel and leave style treatment. Or just come in for a laser rejuvenation quick session. These treatments can be as short as 15mins and marketed as an essential quick fix. Somewhere along the way we lost track of longer more in depth care and treatments.

sometimes as a therapist I feel like I could just do a cleanse and massage a face with sorbolene cream and the clients will get off the bed toned and glowing

In most cases I feel like massage is essential in all facial treatments. Even if you’re having a treatment for acne skin, which can’t be massaged, at the very least an arm and shoulder massage can make all the difference to the client’s well being. For those clients coming in for more facial rejuvenating treatments massaging the face in the correct way makes ALL the difference. Honestly sometimes as a therapist I feel like I could just do a cleanse and massage a face with sorbolene cream and the clients will get off the bed toned and glowing. That is the power of touch and massage and how essential it is to facial treatments.

I often talk about ‘building healthy skin for life’ and massage in a facial treatment is the clinic version of that. We want juicy, healthy, glowing plump skin. Not traumatized, stressed thin skin. So how do we achieve the healthiest skin possible? Firstly I don’t over exfoliate, I have a few different grades of enzyme based professional exfoliators I use in the clinic and that’s it. No dermaplaning, microdermabrasion or strong alpha hydroxy acids. Depending on the skins needs I might do more cleaning with galvanic or a mask, or even do a micro current lift for toning ageing skin. Then I always do an infusion with the sonophoresis spatula to feed the skin and replenish what we may have taken away. I finish treatments with the facial massage. This gives all the gel based serums and masks the ability to infuse into clean skin before we feed the skin with a hydrating creamy mask while we massage and work those muscle to achieve that toned glow.

Think about your last facial treatment, did you get off the bed and say wow? Were you still glowing a week later? Great organic products and professional touch are essential to glowing, healthy skin.

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Treating Rosacea

Treating Rosacea

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea can be a tricky skin condition to diagnose and treat. The fact is no one knows the exact cause of rosacea and it’s thought to be different from person to person. Our only ideas on where it originates is from the gut and can also be linked to autoimmune disease.

Typically rosacea will appear as a red rash across the cheeks and nose, known as a ‘butterfly’ rash. It can however, also just appear in the early stages on the cheeks. The flushing can be so severe capillaries are visible on the surface and the redness can also have sore papules appear. These are not typically acne; they are actually an overgrowth of the dermadex mite on our skin. Everyone has these mites, but in a rosacea skin will have a population explosion and the burrowing of the mites causes papules or water blisters to appear. Getting these mites under control should also be part of every rosacea treatment to stop the itching and papules forming.

How Do We Treat Rosacea?

As the skin is hot and inflamed treatments need to be focused around soothing and cooling facials. Aggressive peels and microdermabrasion should NOT be performed on a roasacea skin, as it will further aggravate the delicate skin. Our protective layer (the acid mantle) is already in a delicate state and needs repairing and nurturing. In the clinic we use gentle enzymes to give a light exfoliation followed by a chrysanthemum and rose alginate mask to soothe and cool.

What Should I Use At Home?

Home care is just as important. Foaming cleansers, Vitamin A serums and glycolic acid based products can be very aggravating to rosacea skin. At the clinic we recommend Roccoco Botanicals for our rosacea clients as they have specially formulated products to treat the condition. Roccoco Botanicals are a herbal-based skincare system that use powerful herbs to address what’s going on in the skin. For rosacea you need to give these products a minimum of eight weeks to see the calming at it’s most effective level. These herbal powerhouses cool and calm the skin causing the capillary network to settle back into the skin and also kill the over population of dermadex mites to sooth itching.

Ideally homecare for rosacea includes Soothing Cleansing Oil, Reactive Skin Serum, Radiance (in the morning) and Reactive Intensive Cream (in the evening). This system has been proven to work on rosacea skins to improve the condition.

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Zilch Acne

Zilch Acne

Popular Acne Supplement

Cult acne treatment Zilch Acne is probably the most popular acne supplement on the market today. Honestly I can’t keep it on the shelf in the clinic these days. I’ve noticed an interesting trend though; people are just purchasing it or popping in to get their bottles and don’t seem very interested in talking about topical skincare. It’s almost like this mentality of  ‘popping a pill’ will fix everything. Zilch Acne is extremely successful as an internal treatment so it’s perfectly understandable that when it clears your skin you’re totally happy with it and don’t need to bother with expensive skincare routines. I totally get it! BUT what if in 6 months your acne comes back? What’s the answer? More pills? Possibly, but what are you putting on your skin every day? The reality is most products are comedogenic to acne skin. If you’ve suffered from acne your whole life the reality is you need to be on specialized skincare, or it will be a struggle to get clear and stay clear.

Getting It Right

In the clinic I have learnt so much about acne in the past 18 months, I’m a constant student of skincare. I’ve researched, gone to courses and bought in specialized products that not only treat acne but also stop you from breaking out in the future. This ranges from everything from skincare to makeup. When you’re treating acne topically it will take up to 6 months to clear all the micro comedones from your skin. Used in combination with a supplement like Zilch Acne the clearing process can be accelerated. If anyone else is making promises for quicker results they’re probably fibbing or just trying to sell you something. Clear skin is a journey, and when done properly can yield excellent results that leaves you with the best skin of your life.  I encourage everyone to stick with the journey, through the purges, the ups and downs to clear skin. Clearing skin is a journey and these things take time. Quick fixes don’t apply to this tricky skin condition.

Topical Acne Care

Our preferred ranges for acne in the clinic are Roccoco Botanicals skincare, Adorn mineral makeup and Zilch Acne supplement. These three powerhouse brands yield excellent results that get our clients clear and keep them clear.

If you have any questions about your skin we always encourage contact with the clinic for a free no obligation chat. Giving everyone clear skin is our passion and mission!

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Forever Young, Naturally!

Forever Young, Naturally!

The case for natural and organic professional skin care


To appear forever young is the ultimate goal and the whole point to beauty for most people right?! To stay as youthful and healthy looking for as long as possible are what people are chasing. This is obvious with the rise of the health and wellness movement, we know that eating well and exercising will help keep our bodies in top shape and give our skin a natural glow.

Next we turn our attention to our face and skin. Australia is now the largest consumers of cosmetic procedures per capita in the world (yes we’re beating the US) and it’s commonly accepted that most everyone has Botox and fillers at the very least. But is that what’s really needed for glowing skin?

I hate to bust the Botox bubble but no, Botox and fillers do nothing for the condition of your skin to achieve that youthful glow. Think of them more as structural work to smooth out wrinkles and pump up lips and cheeks.

But that’s what makeup is for right? Foundations and illuminisers help to achieve glowing skin, to a point. But if the texture of your skin is uneven, bumping under the surface, the makeup won’t sit properly and won’t look right.

This brings us to skincare. If you truly want youthful glowing skin you have to be using the correct skincare that’s going to work for your skin. Professional skincare is widely accepted to get the best results and natural skincare is a new huge staple as we’re becoming more aware of our health and bodies.

As a professional, in my experience with treating clients for over a decade as well as my own skin, professional natural skincare gets the best results for seriously youthful skin over time. Over time is the key phrase here, the way natural skincare works is not a quick fix, just like our diets. It is the consistent use for over a year and longer where your friends will start to really complement your skin and how well you’re looking.

I want to breakdown the difference between traditional professional skincare (also known as cosmeceuticals) and natural professional skincare. Cosmeceuticals commonly will tell you that everyone needs retinol as a holy grail ingredient and the skin can only take in a few select vitamins (A, C, E, B) These vitamins have been manufactured and freeze dried and placed in a cream with a delivery system. I find this extremely limiting and liken it to taking vitamins pills as opposed to eating a varied healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Natural and organic professional skincare on the other hand derives its active ingredients from plants and there are hundreds (possibly thousands) of different antioxidants that are nutrient dense to feed and hydrate the skin. When they are formulated in a professional product they work in the skin naturally, nourishing our cells, combating free radical damage and keeping our cells younger and it better condition for longer. In my experience as a professional, this is the key to the ‘fountain of youth’, more so than any intense treatments designed for a quick fix or ‘bullying’ the skin to do something.

Happy skin glows, simple as that. So I would love to take the fear, the self-loathing and knee jerk treatments out of beauty for everyone and love your skin with amazing professional natural skincare and see your natural glow come through. Who’s up for the challenge to join me in natural, healthy, glowing skin?

Glow like a natural beauty expert, my favourite products on high rotation:

Eminence Organics

Marine Peptide Serum

Eminence Marine Flower Peptide Serum is an easily absorbed, potent gel serum delivers concentrated plant peptides and botanicals to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for visibly smoother, plumper and more youthful-looking skin.

eminence marine flower peptide serum

Bright Skin Moisturiser with Sunscreens

Eminence Bright Skin Moisturiser with Sunscreen protects your skin while brightening with stone crop, bearberry, GigaWhite™ and a Natural Hydroquinone Alternative.

Eminence Bright Skin Moisturiser with Sunscreen

Organic Spa

Pro Renewal Cream

Organic Spa Pro Renewal Cream is formulated to help protect and defend the skin against environmental stresses while nourishing and rejuvenating the complexion.

Forever Young, Naturally!

Night Renewal Treatment

Organic Spa Night Renewal Treatment is a nourishing advanced night treatment is formulated to help stimulate cell renewal, improve skin texture and enhance the complexions clarity.

Forever Young, Naturally!

Roccoco Botanicals

Globiotic Serum

Roccoco globiotic serum is a topical live probiotic serum that enhances skin brightness, radiance and repair.

Forever Young, Naturally!

Blueberry AGE Cream for mature acne skin

Roccoco Blueberry AGE Cream is designed for mature and dehydrated skins that are glycated and barrier impaired.

Forever Young, Naturally!

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Banish Blackheads Forever

Banish Blackheads Forever

Just about everyone who comes into the skin clinic at South Yarra for a facial has concerns with blackheads, even if they don’t suffer from acne or oily skin.


So what are blackheads and how do they form?

Blackheads are a build up of cellular waste, dirt, oil and pollution that get trapped in the pores of our skin, and then oxidize. This build up turns black in our pores creating what we commonly know as ‘blackheads’. This build up under the skin can be unsightly, leave the texture of our skin uneven and lead to our pores appearing larger.

Some common treatments people use to get rid of blackheads are:

Pore strips (ouch!)

Intense exfoliation like Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Retinol that can leave the rest of your skin red and raw

Professional skin peels, again not sustainable long term

Microdermabrasion, being a manual exfoliation it doesn’t get down into the pores as effectively as peels

Some of the above treatments are more effective than others but they all have the same problem, they’re mostly only temporary. Yep, those pesky blackheads just seem to come back, with vengeance. Then stripping the rest of your skin just to get to a few pores across your nose is far from ideal as well.

At Belinda Hughes Skin Clinic we have a couple of alternatives that we have found to be very effective and more long term than the above treatments.

In Salon

In the clinic we have created our signature Blackhead Melting Facial with our acne brand Roccoco Botanicals. This treatment begins with a double pore cleanse and a cranberry and pomegranate enzyme exfoliation to deeply clean your skin. Then we use a blackhead melting gel on negative galvanic current to literary melt the blackheads and congestion in your skin, then we extract any further congestion ready to come out if required. Finished with a sulfur mask derived from kale this facial leaves your skin clear and glowing.

At Home

To maintain results at home we recommend a cleansing system. Use the Roccoco Pore Cleansing Oil over the basin at home straight onto the skin without water, massage the cleanser around for a couple of minutes then remove with a warm damp face washer. If your wearing makeup, use the pore cleansing oil to remove your makeup first, it’s brilliant over eye makeup and everything just melts.

Banish Blackheads Forever

Followed by the Roccoco Purifying Essence, which is a toner that contains willowbark, a natural salicylic acid. For best result spray the rococo purifying essence onto a cotton round and wipe over your skin.

Banish Blackheads Forever

This cleansing system is proven to deeply clean skin and banish blackheads from the most stubborn pores. Your skin is left calm and purified. Then finish your routine with your recommended serum and moisturizer. If you’re not sure what’s best for your skin, get in touch with us at the clinic and we can guide you on your bespoke home routine.

Book your Blackhead Melting Facial below:

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Food and Beating Acne

Food can effect acne

Food has the power to affect our bodies in very positive or sometimes negative ways. With so much conflicting information, trends and fads it is really hard to find the right fit with our own personal nutrition. Our skin is our largest organ and part of our excretory system so when things are not functioning properly it reacts, most commonly with acne.

At the clinic I’m a huge advocate of ‘one size does not fit all’ and often refer clients to my network of practitioners around Melbourne for everything from food allergy testing to good old acupuncture. Acne is a particularly tricky skin condition we treat a lot of in the clinic. Clients are often already under the care of health practitioners for other health conditions. As a result, they already have the basics of a great clean diet with minimal to no sugar, junk food and any food groups they have diagnosed sensitivities to like gluten or dairy. But sometimes there’s apiece missing. I see the frustration, I council clients through the process of clearing acne over 6 months or longer.

We stock the best products on the market to treat it topically as well as a Chinese Medicine supplement Zilch Acne. What I have recently learnt though is there are definitely some foods and herbs that trigger receptors in the skin, which cause acne flare-ups. If you are struggling I would urge you to get allergy tested, but this is a go-to list to get you started.

Foods that commonly trigger acne

  • Milk
  • Wheat grass
  • B1, B6, B12
  • Whey protein
  • Cocoa – sorry to break your heart, this includes raw cacao which is often a health food favourite treat
  • Iodine

Be sure to double check multi-vitamin supplements for the B Vitamins and Iodine.

Foods that are good for treating acne

  • Green tea
  • Brown rice or pea protein – double check your protein powders
  • Probiotics
  • Zinc
  • Fish oil
  • Nicazel – click the link for more information on this supplement

If you’re looking for answers to your stubborn acne, book an Initial Consultation Facial with Belinda for professional advice, or get in touch with us for a chat.

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I Bought Natural Skin Care and My Skin Still Sucks

I Bought Natural Skin Care and My Skin Still Sucks


You’ve finally found the holy grail of skin care – natural skin care products!


These beautifully packaged, so called “natural skin care” butters and oils promise to take you to skin care nirvana. But after a few weeks use your skin is still kinda feeling the same. Mildly better, but it’s not rocking your world. What went wrong?

So often my clients arrive in my clinic announcing they’re all about natural and organic skin care and they’re so glad they found me. But they still face a variety of skin concerns ranging from acne to dryness, an organic oil is supposed to be hydrating right?! Well sort of…

Here is why your natural products are still giving you sucky skin

You picked the wrong product for your skin condition

You’ve had the same combination skin forever and get pesky breakouts about once a month still. You’re over the shine and want clear glowing skin, the bottle says for normal-oily skin so you’re good, right? Not necessarily. There are more factors going on in your skin than just your skin type. Choosing a broad range product for your skin type won’t address the underlying skin condition only a skin care professional can spot. Although these online retailers give general guidance, it’s not the same as getting advice from a trained skin expert.

Your product isn’t that natural

Green-washing is HUGE still. So many products have the words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ in the label, or come in pretty amber packaging on wooden shelves, but they’re not natural. They still contain petro chemical ingredients like sulfates that are going to sabotage your skin. Lots of clients come to me using products like (that product that sounds like Aesop) thinking its natural and wondering why their skin isn’t improving. This is not your fault, but if I can educate you on which are the natural skincare products and what to spot, you’ll be less likely to fall into the trap of fake natural products.

You’re confused about product terms

With the explosion of natural products on the market certain terms have been confused like oils and serums. Many natural brands market their face oils as ‘serums’, which is not entirely the correct description. Traditionally serums are more like a thin gel consistency that disappear deep into the skin carrying vitamins and antioxidants and a moisturizer I used to lock it in. Oils on the other hand don’t disappear into the skin straight away like a serum and it isn’t necessary to lock them in with a moisturizer as well. Serums are more effective at carrying vitamins into the skin than just oils. Depending on your skin condition and preference these two products have very different purposes.

You’ve found a funky little artisan brand that’s handmade

Now I love these little finds as much as the next person, and believe in supporting them to grow into the best version they can be. BUT it is a little bit buyer beware when skincare is being mixed up at home so I tend to stick to more general body products while these products are new. There are a few issues with small homemade brands. Testing for microbial fungus doesn’t happen, so if there’s an issue with the product it could cause adverse reactions. Also testing for splitting and separation of the product may not be done thoroughly enough leaving you with a jar of split sludge. Finally, if essential oils are used and are too strong it can also cause adverse reactions on the skin, and UV sensitivity. Of course this does not apply to all brands, but buyer beware.

So what do you do to get the best out of organic and natural skin care?

Ultimately consulting an expert with professional brands is the best way to go. But since natural and organic salons are not the norm yet, it can be tricky to find one. Plus then you have the extra expense of having a treatment done, when all you may want is some awesome skincare that’s going to work day to day.

This is why I’ve created the concept of an online skin consultation that gives you access to my online store of professional brands. Professional advice ü professional brands ü all natural and organic ü. Plus you get the added bonus of then being a customer and you can re-order our professional products to suit the changing conditions of the skin (and continue to grow with us as we expand our offering).

You don’t need to be in Melbourne or make it into the clinic. To book, simply click the link below:
Online Skin Consultation

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Urban List Loves Belinda Hughes Skin Clinic

Urban List Loves Belinda Hughes Skin Clinic

The Verdict

It doesn’t look like much from the street, but wander up the stairs to Belinda Hughes’ new South Yarra skin clinic and you suddenly find yourself in a timber-floored Zen palace. The white-washed walls, leafy outlook windows, and a soothing meditation soundtrack massages its way into your brain.

It’s the latest bricks and mortar venture from celebrated beauty blogger Belinda Hughes (aka the Natural Beauty Expert), as well as the only 100% organic skin clinic in South Yarra. Think of it more as a holistic beauty and wellness centre; a place for your monthly facial where you can learn about your skin, get a naturopath referral (Belinda has a few choice contacts she recommends) or grab a bottle of moisturizer from the carefully selected products on display…

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